Performance and serum chemistry of rabbits fed graded levels of cassava peels, Leucaena leucocephala and Gliricidia sepium leaves based diets
AbstractThirty-six, 7 to 8 weeks old New Zealand White rabbits were allocated to three dietary treatments of 6 rabbits per diet with 2 replicates per treatment. Diet T1, the control diet was a conventional ration formulated from basic ingredients. Diet T2 was composed of 50% cassava peels, and 25% each of Leucaena leucocephala and Gliricidia sepium leaves, while diet 3 (T3) was compounded by mixing 33.33% each of cassava peels, Gliricidia sepium leaves and Leucaena leucocephala. The feeds and water were offered ad libitum and the study lasted 12 weeks. The control diet (Diet T1) was superior (P<0.05) to the other herbage combinations in terms of apparent digestibility, total digestible nutrients, feed conversion and protein efficiency ratios. Not surprisingly, the same diet produced the best live weight gain. Body weight gain ranged from 16.1g/day in the control group to 12.32g and 4.49g in Diet T2 and diet T3 respectively. However, Diet T2 had better nutritive value amongst the cassava peels and herbage combinations by having higher (P<0.05) apparent digestibility, total digestible nutrients, feed conversion and protein efficiency ratios than diet T3. Serum sodium was highest in diets T2 and T3 (P<0.05) and lowest in the control group. Potassium levels were unaffected by the dietary treatments. Total protein was highest in rabbits fed the control diet (P<0.05) but similar in T2 and T3 rabbits. Aspartate amino transferase (AST) and cholesterol were highest in the Control (P<0.05) group and decreased in the rabbits on other diets In summary it is recommended that total replacement of conventional diets in rabbit diets could be achieved at relatively low cost based on a combinations of 50% cassava peels and 25% each of Leucaena leucocephala and Gliricidia sepium leaf meals as the diet produced performance similar to conventional diets. Higher levels of leucaena and gliricidia severely depressed growth and performance.
Keywords: cassava peels, Glyricidia sepium, Leucaena leucocephala, rabbits, serum metabolites, growth
Global Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences Vol. 12(2) 2006: 171-175